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activity with more than a mere scientific interest, as many of
Jaeobi's discoveries overlapped some of those of his own youth
which he had never published. He had also (it is said) met the
young man personally: Jacobi called on Gauss (no account of
the visit has survived) in September 1839, on his return trip to
Konigsbeig after a vacation in Marienbad to recuperate from
overwork. Gauss appears to have feared that Jacobi's financial
collapse would have a disastrous effect on his mathematics 3 but
Bessel reassured him: 'Fortunately such a talent cannot be
destroyed, but I should have liked him to have the sense of
freedom which money assures.'
The loss of his fortune had no effect whatever on Jacobi's
mathematics. He never alluded to his reverses but kept on
working as assiduously as ever. In 1842 Jacobi and Bessel
attended the meeting of the British Association at Manchester,
where the German Jacobi and the Irish Hamilton met in the
flesh. It was to be one of Jacobi's greatest glories to continue
the work of Hamilton hi dynamics and, in a sense, to complete
what the Irishman had abandoned in favour of a will-o-the-
wisp (which win be followed when we come to it).
At this point in his career Jacobi suddenly attempted to
blossom out into something showier than a mere mathemati-
cian. Not to interrupt the story of his scientific life when we
take it up, we shall dispose here of the illustrious mathemati-
cian's singular misadventures in politics.
The year following his return from the trip of 1842, Jacobi
had a complete breakdown from overwork. The advancement
of science in the 1840's in Germany was in the hands of the
benevolent princes and kings of the petty states which were
later to coalesce into the German Empire. Jacobi's good angel
was the King of Prussia, who seems to have appreciated fully
the honour which Jaeobf s researches conferred on the King-
dom- Accordingly, when Jacobi fell ill, the benevolent TTi^g
uiged Mm to take as long a vacation as he liked in the mild
climate of Italy, After five months at Rome and Naples with
Borchardt (whom we shall meet later in the company of Weier-
strass) and Dirichlet, Jacobi returned to Berlin in June 184*4.
He WBS now permitted to stay on in Berlin until his health